We are celebrating International Women’s Day with a panel discussion and conference on March 12 at the University of Wales Newport City Campus.

The event, which is free to attend, has more than 100 people signed up to attend.

Inspirational women from Wales will be sharing their stories as part of the conference, which will be hosted by the South Wales Argus business editor, Jo Barnes.

Here we meet just some of the women who’ll be taking part. Other panel members include Dame Rosemary Butler and inspirational speaker Andrea Callanan will be giving a short workshop at the event.

Chief Constable Pam Kelly

Who are you and what do you do?

I am the chief constable of Gwent Police. In this role, I oversee all that happens in the force’s operational policing across the five local authority areas – Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen.

As a force, we work closely with all our partners, such as the emergency services, in order to do our best to serve the communities of Gwent and keep them safe.

How did you get into the job you are currently doing?

I became the chief constable in May last year, and I joined the force as deputy chief constable from Dyfed-Powys Police in 2017.

It is a great honour for me to be in this role, and I feel very privileged to be the second woman to hold this position.

The majority of my policing career was spent with Dyfed-Powys Police. I started out there as a volunteer in the special constabulary before becoming a regular officer in 1994 and rose to Assistant Chief Constable.

But prior to joining the police, I was a secondary school teacher.

During my time at Dyfed-Powys Police, I worked in a variety of different roles in operational policing and I was a senior investigating officer for around 10 years where I investigated serious crimes such as murder and serious organised crime.

My time in the police has taken me to some interesting places, working on covert operations and learning to be a hostage negotiator.

Who inspired you?

I am inspired by many people. I am fortunate to have a great family and friends and they inspire and motivate me with their kindness most days.

In terms of work I was inspired by great chief officer Andy Edwards, who I worked with at Dyfed-Powys, and he taught me to always be yourself and be true to your values.

Public service is something which I am passionate about and I feel privileged and inspired by what my staff at Gwent Police do daily. In my view, they are often the unseen heroes.

One of the areas which I am very passionate about is protecting and safeguarding the most vulnerable in society, and my career in policing has allowed me to work in this field.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow you?

Always be true to yourself. In my view, that is the most important thing.

Also, expect some bumps along the way, as life is not perfect but that doesn’t mean should you give up and always believe in yourself.

When it comes to leadership in public service, I think it is important to remember that we are all part of something much bigger than just one person. It is always about your community, and in some cases your staff, and that can shape the legacy you leave behind.

Emma Saysell

Who are you?

I am the CEO of St David’s Hospice Care based in Newport.

How did you get into the job you are currently doing?

I am a nurse and I trained in UHW and qualified in 1990. I then secured a position in Velindre Hospital as I always had a passion for oncology nursing. I joined St Davids Hospice Care as a clinical nurse specialist and developed my expertise in palliative care nursing. I then became director of nursing and currently hold the joint position of CEO/director of nursing

Who inspired you?

Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Make sure you believe in what you are trying to achieve and value all the people and experiences that you gain along the way.

Caroline Thompson

Who are you are and what do you do?

I am the head of partnerships for the Alacrity Foundation (UK). I am responsible for developing strategic relationships with key stakeholders and forging new cross-sector partnerships that enhance the Alacrity profile and programme offering.

How did you get into the job?

Prior to taking up my position with the Alacrity Foundation, I was CEO of BeTheSpark, a movement in Wales designed to bring together innovation and entrepreneurship in a more visible, simple and connected way. The movement was born from Wales participating in the globally renowned REAP in MIT Boston, MA.

My passion for supporting entrepreneurship stemmed from leading the Entrepreneurial Spark accelerators hubs for NatWest in Bristol and Cardiff which was a move away from the more traditional roles I head during my 30 year career with the Bank.

Who inspired you?

I think that the hundreds of entrepreneurs and founders that I’ve met and supported over the past years are what inspires me. I’m not an entrepreneur, I simply couldn’t do it but I do have the drive, energy, experience and connections to help and support entrepreneurs in achieving their goals. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. I have a real passion for supporting entrepreneurial women and I’m Chair of the panel instigated by Welsh Government and I contributed to the framework in place called ‘An Approach for Wales’.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow you?

The advice I’m going to give is more skewed towards someone wanting to create a business, explore an idea they have or follow their business dreams. It comes from a quote a saw a few years ago “Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just… start”.

Mica Moore

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m an international sprinter and GB Olympic bobsleigher.

How did you get into the job you are currently doing?

I started athletics when I was 15, after my parents saw my sporting potential. I competed at the commonwealth games for wales in 2014 and then in 2016 had the opportunity to try out for the bobsleigh team after an illness caused me to struggle with sprint training. I became part of the GB team in September 2016.

Who inspired you?

I looked up to athletes like Jeanette Kwakye 100m British sprinter who made the Olympic final and Lolo Jones American sprint hurdler who also became a bob sleigher and went to both the winter and summer Olympics.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow you?

My favourite quote is ‘only the fearless can be great’. I believe you have to give everything to achieve your dreams even if it scares you. You can’t achieve your goal if you are afraid to fail. So give it everything you have and don’t stop till you get there.

Blanche Sainsbury

Who are you, and what do you do?

My career history has most notably been at board level in the publishing/media industry.

Working for DMGT, Northcliffe Newspapers, Local World and Trinity Mirror PLC (now Reach PLC). After selling Local World to Trinity Mirror PLC for £220m in 2015, I stayed as executive commercial director to integrate the two businesses and left at the end of 2016.

After 30 years in the media laterally based in London with much traveling to regional offices across the UK, I came home to Wales to enjoy life at Langland Bay. Bliss!

My current role is chairman of Bluestone National Park Resorts Ltd, a short-break destination set in 500 acres of the Pembrokeshire National Park. Employing 750 staff Bluestone is also the biggest accommodation provider in Wales and winner of the Best Family Destination break in Britain (British Tourism Awards 2019).

I am also the founder of The National Children of Wales Awards, an annual event that celebrates the inspirational achievements of the young people of Wales whilst raising money for charity in Wales dedicated to helping children.

How did you get the job you are currently doing?

While my background is not in tourism or the charity sector, leadership and innovation are highly transferable skills, couple this with authenticity, honesty and integrity and I believe this is a strong base to transfer to most industry sectors.

Who Inspired you?

I have always been inspired by those who come to work everyday to make life better for themselves and their families no matter the hardship. Liz Murray who is notable for having been accepted by Harvard university despite being homeless at 15, both parents were drug addicts and contracted HIV. Her story is an inspiration. She graduated as a clinical psychologist and is the founder and director of Manifest Living a company which offers the opportunity for people to change their circumstances.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow you?

Authenticity always wins, it requires vulnerability, transparency and integrity.